Row. The. Boat.
For the first time in program history, the Western Michigan Broncos are ranked in the AP Top 25, and P.J. Fleck’s squad is certainly deserving of the honor. The No. 24 Broncos are 2-0 against Big Ten teams (Northwestern and Illinois) and have taken care of business against MAC opponents in recent weeks. Quarterback Zach Terrell has been brilliant all season long — he’s averaging 9.79 yards per attempt in 2016 while tossing 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Western Michigan plays mistake-free football, but it’s also explosive. That’s a rare combination. The Broncos’ schedule is favorable the rest of the way, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them run the table.
RANKINGS: Week 7 AP Poll
Western Michigan and Navy (ranked 25th after upsetting Houston on Saturday) are the feel-good stories of the Week 7 AP Poll, but as it pertains to the College Football Playoff, here’s where we’re at: Washington is an extremely good team. And while the No. 5 Huskies didn’t make a dent in the poll this week despite thrashing Oregon by a score of 70-21, it feels as though they control their own destiny.Why? Because two of the teams above them play in the Big Ten East, and they will have to square off against each other on Nov. 26. Ohio State (No. 2) and Michigan (No. 4) will battle in what could serve as a College Football Playoff play-in game in Columbus, and if Washington goes unbeaten, it should snag the loser’s spot. Alabama and Clemson look outstanding as well, and at this point in the season, the top of the rankings look much more stable than they did last year.
With that said, there is a ton of football left to play, and a few teams made significant strides this past week. Florida State continued its dominance over rival Miami (Fla.), and the voters rewarded the Seminoles for their efforts. Jimbo Fisher’s crew jumped nine spots thanks to its gritty road win, and while the Noles are the third wheel in the ACC as of now, they can play themselves into a New Year's Six bowl with a strong second half.
Meanwhile, you have to feel for the Houston Cougars. Navy deserved to win on Saturday, but the Coogs had a real shot to capture a College Football Playoff berth with an undefeated season. All hope isn’t lost for Houston; it still has a chance to pick up a win against No. 7 Louisville later this season. But even if they beat the Cardinals, there’s no denying that the Cougars will need some help at the top in order to vie for the national championship.
Still, when one non-Power Five door closes, another usually opens. Boise State to the College Football Playoff, anyone?
The Broncos are a perfect 5-0 this season, and they jumped four spots to No. 15 in this week’s poll. Boise State doesn’t have any juggernauts left on its schedule, and that can be viewed as a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. The Broncos take on BYU on Oct. 20, and if they can prevail, they have a reasonable chance to go undefeated this season.
For many college football fans, now is a time to root for chaos. Usually, these people are fans of teams that no longer have a realistic shot at the Playoff. So here’s a fun scenario: Boise State goes undefeated, and the teams at the top of the rankings start to falter in the coming weeks. Then what happens?
We may never know, but it’s hard not to be curious. Buckle up. The rest of the season should be a blast.